NNN – No New News? – 5/20/20 – New United CEO says he doesn’t want to cut any jobs despite crisis
Updated 6:43 PM ET, Wed May 20, 2020
New York (CNN Business)United Airlines’ new CEO says he hopes to avoid staff cuts, despite the need to significantly reduce labor costs in the face of sharply lower demand for air travel.Airlines are not allowed to lay off or furlough employees before the end of September, as one of the conditions of the $50 billion bailout package for the industry recently passed by Congress. At the company’s annual meeting Wednesday, Scott Kirby told shareholders he hopes to reach an agreement with the airlines’ unions by then to keep United’s 100,000 employees on the payroll, even it means reduced hours and other labor cost savings.”We’ll be taking time in the months ahead to work with our union partners on creative ideas that would involve reduced hours and leaves of absences instead of furloughs,” said Kirby, who had been United’s president and who became CEO at the conclusion of the annual meeting. “I recognize that even though those options are difficult and will need to be widely shared by everyone here at United, it would save jobs, and most importantly, it would allow us to bounce back quickly, which is the best way to ensure everyone’s jobs and stability for our company for years into the future.”All US airlines have far more staff than they need given the deep cut in air travel during the coronavirus pandemic.The number of people passing through TSA screening at US airports on Tuesday was just 8% of the number on the same day a year ago.But bookings are beginning to rebound for the months ahead. United (UAL), Southwest (LUV) and Delta (DAL) have all started to add back some of the flights they had previously cut. United, for example, expects a 75% reduction of its schedule in July, rather than a 90% reduction in the May and June schedule.